May 1, 2015 6:12 PM

Winston signs 4-year contract with Buccaneers

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Jameis Winston signed a four-year contract Friday, less than 24 hours after being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the first pick of the NFL draft.

Terms of the deal, announced during Winston's introductory news conference, were not released. The contract includes an option for a fifth year.

Winston said he was "glad we have the contract stuff out of the way," adding he's anxious to get a copy of the team's playbook and start working.

"This whole thing has been long for me," the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner said of the months-long draft process.

"Football is what I'm here for," Winston added. "I can't wait."

Talks began Thursday, when the Bucs selected the former Florida State star, despite questions about off-the-field issues that threatened to undermine Winston's spot in the draft.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht said the speedy conclusion with the contract was a reflection of how elated the team is to have Winston, as well as the quarterback's excitement with being picked by Tampa Bay.

"It shows us that he wants us as much as we wanted him," Licht said.

Licht later reiterated the Bucs are confident Winston is a young man who has made some mistakes off the field, but is not a bad person.

The quarterback was accused of sexually assaulting a former Florida State student, though he was never arrested or charged in the case. He also made headlines when he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and suspended for one game last season after climbing on a table on campus and shouting an obscenity.

The crab leg incident was back in the spotlight Thursday night after Winston posted a picture of himself on Instagram posing in a No. 3 Buccaneers jersey while holding a tray of crab legs a friend provided for his draft party in his hometown of Bessemer, Ala.

Winston later deleted the photo from his account.

"I was just saying thanks to a friend," Winston said, adding that reaction to the photo on social media caught him by surprise.

Asked his reaction, Licht joked: "The world knows and Tampa definitely knows Jameis loves crab legs."


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